Opposites: The Other Side of Everything

By Jo Phillips

14 August 1969 Stephen J Morgan 2012
4 August 1969, Stephen J Morgan, 2012. Image courtesy of Stephen J. Morgan and The Wapping Project Bankside.

In his latest exhibition The Other Side of Everything, photographer Stephen J. Morgan captures the British Empire’s most potent and ubiquitous symbol of where a person is from and belongs: the flag. For the past year, he has travelled across the UK with his camera and photographed both the Union flag and St. George’s Cross as it is seen in urban settlements.

‘I never felt a part of what it meant to be English and British,’ writes Stephen. ‘I always felt I was on The Other Side Of Everything. For me they [the flags] take on a darker meaning, almost like outposts: the last bastion and one last stand.’

7 June 1977 Stephen J. Morgan 2012
7 June 1977, Stephen J Morgan, 2012. Image courtesy of Stephen J. Morgan and The Wapping Project Bankside.

While the exhibition explores Stephen’s own identity as a second generation Irish who grew up in Birmingham during the ’70s and ’80s with an Irish Republican father, it also examines the spectrum of meaning of the Union Flag, in particular its paradoxical nature: on the one hand a symbol of the mighty Monarchy, the British Empire and the British Armed forces; on the other, a token of pride and patriotism, racism and xenophobia.

Stephen has titled the photographs in the series after significant dates in Britain’s recent history, leaving viewers to ponder upon the political path of the country in the past and prospectively.

Stephen J. Morgan is a creative talent featured in .Cent’s Breaking Boundaries Directory. His exhibition, The Other Side of Everything, opens on 31 May till 13th July 2013 at The Wapping Project Bankside, London.